The Hip Mom Discovers Brookside

Here’s a confession. As a non-native Tulsan, I would hear rave comments about Brookside – that block of sheer urbane cool that seems errantly plopped right in an odd (to me) quadrant of Tulsa. So many of my uber-cool, less-child-ridden girlfriends just rave about this mile: Such and such café! That shop!  That restaurant!  But I live far enough from Brookside that it is a big, sweaty nightmare to undertake the journey. And I’ll admit the few times I had driven down this stretch of Peoria, it didn’t look THAT great. But I suppose that’s because I was driving too fast and/or yelling at some kid or another because I finally slowed down, listened to some very soignée friends, and actually PARKED (there is parking in the back of most of these stores – but oh, that parking spot right in front is so darn coveted when you are carting the stroller, et cetera!)  And what do you know? My friends are right, of course – there is a cornucopia of stores here to pillage. I had only visited Little Black Dress before – a wonderful, sophisticated upscale ladies’ boutique (go here if you are looking to dress to impress someone!). But there is so much more within a block north or south!

My dear friend Shawna turns me on to a wonderfully chic (and chick!) utopia called – aptly – On a Whim.  This retail fantasy is a panacea for your poor, tired mommy self: shoes, stylish clothes, silly napkins, fun novelties, perfume, soap, cosmetics – a panoply of wondrous feminine stuff.  I was lured in by the rainbow offerings of aromatherapy, and Styrofoam cups that tease, “This Home Runs on Love, Laughter and Lots of Wine.” The cosmetic offerings are well-curated, in-the-know type brands such as Deborah Lippman, Murad and Clarisonic (I have had great success with my little Clarisonic. For a mere $149, this facial scrubber/exfoliator is like the facial that keeps on giving!).  On a Whim also trots out a great selection of excellent jeans (AG Jeans, Genetic Denim), plus great, trendy brands like Alice + Olivia, Kate Spade, Trina Turk, Michael Starrs and Nanette Lepore – all lines that manage to stay on trend but aren’t crazy expensive. I find myself some DVF espadrilles at 40 percent off – such sweet serendipity!

And here’s a curious thing: On a Whim sells this whacky, sumptuous pottery from a New York City bodega – MacKenzie Childs. I vividly remember this store from my NYC days. I passed by it a few times, and was lured in by the fanciful frippery of this store. I imagine that MacKenzie-Childs pieces are designed by a slightly batty rich woman who lives in a Paris atelier; in reality, the pieces are painstakingly handcrafted in rural New York by a group of very talented, imaginative artisans. Clearly MacKenzie Childs has expanded since then, since their baubles are all the way in Oklahoma. Now, MacKenzie Childs is cruelly expensive – but worth the nauseating price. Imagine how fanciful and fun a dinner party would be with a set of this exquisitely funky dining ware? But my gawsh don’t let your children near these pieces of ceramic heaven – I am not sure, in fact, that I will even buy this stuff for the next eight years since a dish is broken at our home approximately every seven minutes. But if your children are safely past the breaking dishware phase (maybe 19 or so?), do consider these lovely pieces for yourself – or some girlfriend you like very, very much.

Just across the street from On a Whim is Ribbons, a wonderful mommy/kiddy/baby gift store. Ribbons has a whole bunch of fun and trendy clothing for kids, teens and mommies. Their fall fashions have just arrived when I get there, and there are lots of fetching dresses, sweaters and tops. These Peplum shirts are eye-catching and fit beautifully! Luckily, Ribbons has a “treasure chest” for kiddies to play with while moms shop, so while I’m fingering the adorable little girl party dresses, Sylvie and Margaux are happily tearing through the toy box (although five minutes later they stage a toddler kerfuffle in front of the handbags). Ribbons also carries Greek accessories for the new sorority girl on your gift list, plus really original kiddie birthday gifts, and exquisite baby gifts to boot.

My treasure hunt continues. Just up the street is a new interior design store, Sasha Malchi Home. This little store is choc-full of fun accessories and décor. There are all kinds of delights here you won’t find at the mall or in a catalog. The store holds all kinds of noteworthy pieces, from a beautiful seashell table to personalized chevron baby blankets. They also have an impressive offering of costume jewelry. Sasha Malchi also offers unique baby gifts such as handmade OU and OSU bibs. Their inventory is constantly changing and evolving, so be sure to swing by often to check out what’s new.

Finally, just two steps away from Sasha Malchi is Tag at Brookside – a little clothing boutique with all sorts of fun things to wear for ingénues young and old. Tag is a two-year old shop, and always hosting fun events like “Fashion Night Out” – a gathering inspired by that lust-worthy NYC carnival where people model, shop and party all in the name of fashion. There is a large selection of “Okie” clothing like these cute t-shirts. OU and OSU fans in particular will find all kinds of ways to cheer here –  darling baby doll dresses offered in Sooner Red or Pistol Pete Orange (I just made those colors up). Tag offers an array of fun jewelry and accessories, too. And they score major points with me for etching my favorite Carrie Bradshaw quotation on their wall: “I like my money where I can see it – hanging in my closet.”

Now with two little babies in tow, I don’t get to stop and eat at one of Brookside’s many cultured eateries. While I’ve been to the sleek Sonoma Bistro and Wine Bar (heavenly wines and California-inspired, organic fare), I’ve yet to visit Leon’s, Wolfgang Puck’s Bistro, Doc’s, Café Ole…the list is endless!  Perhaps a date night is in order soon…and apparently there is even something called “Nightlife” to experience on Brookside at R Bar, Cosmo Café and Bar, and Sharkey’s Entertainment and Emporium.  The only “Nightlife” I have experienced lately is getting the kids to bed and collapsing with a glass of wine on the couch with Facebook…who knows? Maybe there’s more to the night than that routine…guess I will have to investigate!

Categories: Hip Mom